As the classic saying goes, everybody has their reasons.
Jeremy Roscoe and Quintin Olagbegi played off contrasting motivations that powered Uplift on Sunday.
Olagbegi scored 10 points in the first quarter and Roscoe scored all 19 of his team-high total in the final three quarters as the Titans sailed by Leo 68-52 in the Chops Billinger Shootout at Young.
Both teams played Downstate on Saturday and endured long weather-delayed trips returning home. Uplift lost a one-point overtime thriller to defending Class 3A third-place finisher Limestone in the championship of the Metamora tournament.
“We played well there, but we lost, and I wanted to come out hard and take the game over right at the start,” said Olagbegi, a junior point guard.
Olagbegi scored all 12 of his points in the first half until he was hampered by foul trouble. He fouled out late in the third quarter.
Roscoe took control in his absence. Uplift seized control with a 22-3 run that began in the closing two minutes of the second quarter and extended into the first four minutes of the third quarter.
The Titans (19-3) held Leo (7-10) scoreless from the floor during the stretch.
Roscoe scored five points in the second quarter to help give the Titans a 32-25 advantage at the break. He scored nine points as Uplift opened the second half with a 12-1 run to stake its largest lead at 18 points (44-26).
“In that first quarter, I just wanted to get out and let the game come to me,” Roscoe said.
“I felt like in the games we played over the weekend, I probably shot the ball a little too much. Plus after (Olagbegi) got into foul trouble, I had to take over the point guard position.”
Off all the players on the team, Roscoe was haunted by the tough loss on Saturday night. “I couldn’t sleep afterwards because all I thought about was the loss,” he said.
Roscoe also helped cool off Leo’s emerging forward, Darius Oliver. He scored 13 of the Lions’ first 23 points on a variety of face-up jump shots. His short jumper gave the Lions their final lead at 23-22. He never scored the rest of the game.
Oliver was also hurt by foul trouble, including a disputed fifth foul that resulted with Leo coach Noah Cannon being issued a technical foul for arguing over the call.
“We made some adjustments, put a body on him and we started to up the tempo,” Roscoe said.
Sophomore guard Darius Branch had 19 points, four steals and three assists for the Lions.
“We are young, with three sophomore starters and Darius (Branch) is our only real ballhandler, and they did a good job of taking the ball out of his hands,” Cannon said.
Sophomore reserve forward Danzel Davies scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter for Uplift, and guards Deshon Fluckes and Daniel Suetan contributed eight points apiece.